Not everybody is fortunate enough to get complete education before starting their careers. Some students are forced to discontinue their education due to financial needs and take up a job early in their lives. Such students need not despair as distance education helps them to get the education that they want even as they work or later in their lives.
Distance education is defined as,"a system of education where the the learners are not present in calss room or campus and are away from the source of information." This means students need not be present in calss rooms or campuses to learn.
This sytem of education is beneficial for those working people that wish to add more qualification to their resumes mid way in their careers to seek promotions. They benefit from the system of distance education, where the need to attend classes is minimum or absent. Homemakers and students that fail to join a regular college or university due to stiff competition in entrance examinations for limited number of seats, also find distance education immensely helpful to launch their careers.
Starting of Distance Education
Keeping these factors in mind Distance Education Council was formed in India under the Indira Gandhi Open University Act (I985). The council was established to oversee the smooth functioning of various distance and Open University educational programs. Colleges, universities, and institutions offering distance education operate according to the guidelines and norms set by this council.
Today, there are approximately 1 crore students learning in the distance education mode in India. Nearly 1.6 crore students are studying in 10+2 level. For them there are only 5.25 million college seats available. Distance education tries to fill this awning gap.
Modes of Distance Education
There are two modes of distance education: regular and open. The regular distance education mode mandates students to have necessary minimum qualification for further education. A student interested to do MBA should have a bachelor's degree. In the open mode students without any qualification can strive for higher education with the only condition that they must be above 18 years of age for bachelor’s degree courses and above 21 for post graduate degree courses. Some distance education courses require interested students to have necessary working experience.
Distance education is mostly done through correspondence. Now some courses are offered online as part of the distance education programs. Students may have to attend a few contact classes as part of a distance education course. Colleges, universities, and institutions offering distance education programmes have their contact centers all over India from where students can obtain information about various courses offered. Please refer our article Distance Education Univerisities to for information.
Benefits of Distance Education
Distance education obviates the need of attending classes, thus saving on time. Students can study at home as per their convenience. It is economical as the fee structure excludes tuition fees and the maintaining of other facilities that are essential for a college or a university. Examinations are conducted at many places simultaneously all over the country making easier for students to attend them.
Drawbacks of Distance Education
When it comes to comparing with education in a regular university, education in the distance mode falls behind in India. Degrees and diplomas obtained through distance mode are not treated on par with the regular ones. But that is not to say that they do not possess any value. They certainly have their importance and help in improving career.
Career Prospects with Distance Education
All distance education degrees do not have same career prospects. A master's degree in economics may not be as valuable as an MBA. Professional degrees in science, IT and and business administration will have better job prospects than degrees in humanities. Vocational courses also hold better job prospects.
Students and professionals studying in distance education mode should possess self discipline and the zeal to complete their courses in time.